| By Kylie Klotzbach

 

Since its formation in 2015, one of the main pillars of the Women’s Tennis Coaching Association (WTCA) has been to be an advocate for the sport of women’s tennis. Within the sport, there is perhaps no bigger advocate than Billie Jean King, who transformed women’s tennis throughout the course of her playing career and beyond.

Without Billie Jean King’s fight for gender equality, women’s tennis would certainly be in a much worse place than it is today. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say that some of the most prolific female players never would have had the chance to impact the game in the way they have in the 46 years that have passed since King’s win over Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, which sparked the turning point for women in the sport across the globe.

Despite the 39 Grand Slam titles she won throughout her career, her victory over Riggs was undoubtedly the most monumental victory, not only for King, but also for all women.

In addition to winning the Battle of the Sexes, King also founded the WTA in 1973 after joining together with eight other progressive female players to form the “Original 9” in the fight for equal prize money.

King had won the U.S. Open in 1972, yet received $15,000 less than Ilie Nastase, who won the men’s tournament. With the support of the other founding members of the WTA, King threatened not to play in the next U.S. Open if prize money was not equal for both men and women. Thus, the U.S. Open became the first major tournament to offer equal prize money, yet another monumental turning point for women within the sport.

Beyond the formation of the WTA, King founded a number of other organizations dedicated to achieving gender equality, not only for female tennis players, but for women everywhere. She is the mastermind behind womenSports Magazine, the Women’s Sports Foundation and World TeamTennis, the world’s first professional sports league to give equal weight to each male and female competing for their team.

While we certainly still have a long way to go in terms of true equality within the sport of tennis, King’s impact has been felt around the world by young girls and female coaches who now have more opportunities to succeed at a high level and on a more equal playing field.

In an effort to build on King’s fight for gender equality, one of the central components of the WTCA was to form a connected global community centered around advancing the education and level of coaching for female players across the sport. Now, over three years later, the WTCA has become a group of more than 62,000 who are dedicated to the mission of positively transforming tennis for both female players and female coaches.

One of the key tools used by the WTCA to promote this continued education for coaches of female players are the conferences held throughout the year. The annual WTCA Conference NYC has presented hundreds of coaches the opportunity to connect with other community members in order to positively change the landscape of women’s tennis.

The 2019 WTCA Conference NYC is set to be the most inspirational yet, as the speaking lineup features some of the game’s most influential men and women who have fought to achieve equality for females everywhere. With that being said, the WTCA is thrilled to announce the addition of Billie Jean King herself to the 2019 WTCA Conference NYC lineup.

The WTCA has come a long way since the idea began as a Facebook Page for drills and female-specific coaching methods. To now have the most transformative female tennis player to ever step on the court as a keynote speaker at its third annual WTA Conference NYC speaks volumes of the impact the organization has had on thousands of female athletes and coaches across the sport.

Billie Jean King ignited the women’s movement within tennis, and the WTCA hopes to continue to be a champion for women in the fight for gender equality. Through the support of game-changers like King, the WTCA is set for yet another monumental breakthrough at the 2019 WTCA Conference NYC.

 

Kylie Klotzbach is director of public relations for the Women’s Tennis Coaching Association (WTCA). To learn more about the WTCA and its 2019 NYC Conference, contact Info@WTCATennis.org or visit WTCATennis.org.